Winter may be known as a time for animals like robins, reindeer, snowy owls and – of course – turtle doves, but it can also be a particularly popular time to discover pests in and around your home.
In fact, according to a recent report from Rentokil, pest infestations are already becoming increasingly bad this year, with cluster fly, cockroach and rodent infestations each 18%, 42% and 83% higher in callout rates, respectively.
Pests like these all tend to move indoors over the winter months, as the temperature starts to drop outside. Becoming attracted to the light, warmth and stores of food typically found within homes over the festive period, these pests can pose a significant risk to human health since their faeces, saliva and body parts all act as allergens to make us feel ill.
Pest-proofing your home effectively is therefore imperative, but what can you do? Well, have no fear – we are here to help. Using our five top tips, we aim to keep you and your family healthy over the festive period, ensuring your home stays nice and pest-free over the coming year.
Inspect your tree.
Whether you prefer real or artificial, pests absolutely love Christmas trees and often use them as a nesting ground. Therefore, before you put your tree up, make sure to give it a thorough shake outside first. This will help remove any insects or eggs already on the tree before they can enter your home.
Once the tree is up and decorated beautifully, it’s generally a good idea to keep a thorough eye on it for pests throughout the duration of winter. If you see any flies or spiders crawling all over your baubles, it should soon become clear that you’ve got a bit of a pest issue.
Check on cables.
While on the subject of Christmas trees, make sure to check all the cables powering any lights or decorations it has. Rodents love chewing on cables, breaking through the protective plastic lining and significantly increasing the fire risk of homes.
Therefore, if you notice that your cables have been chewed through or your lights aren’t working as well as they used to, there is a high chance that a rat or mouse is responsible. In this scenario, contact a pest control expert for advice on how to humanely remove these rodents from your home.
Keep food covered.
According to a report in The Independent, the average Brit eats more than 6,000 calories on Christmas day alone. That equates to an awful lot of food, and doesn’t even include the amount of alcohol and chocolate we each eat on top.
Having this vast amount of food about is bound to attract an abundance of pests, so it’s important to keep it cleared away and out of sight where possible. If any drinks get knocked over – which, come on, it’s Christmas, they’re bound to – make sure any spillages are dealt with quickly. Likewise, try to clean any pet food bowls on a regular basis.
Seal off areas.
As we’ve mentioned already, pests will try to work their way into your home due to the colder weather outside. Therefore, it stands to reason that, if your home doesn’t have any gaps or entry points available, the pests won’t have a way to get inside.
Go around your home and look for potential cracks or areas where pests may be able to potentially get in. Keep a particular eye on the skirting boards, behind any electrical sockets and underneath all bathroom cabinets – rodents and cockroaches particularly love darkened environments such as these.
Once you have identified any potential areas, seal them up or block them off effectively. It should also go without saying but leaving doors and windows open will also encourage pests to come in, so avoid this where you can as well.
Limit hiding places.
Once a pest has entered into your property, they’re going to look for somewhere to hide, keep warm and nest. Whatever you do, don’t give them that luxury.
As mentioned already, pests love dark environments so make sure to keep any boxes or stacks of newspapers cleared away. Pests are especially known for getting into boxes filled with Christmas decorations in, running riot in the loft when moved up there once the festivities are over. Therefore, before clearing your decorations away, give the boxes a quick shake outside to remove any unwanted guests.